Student visa applications (outside UK)

Below you will find information on the Student visa application process (outside UK).

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

If you are beginning a new course your CAS will be issued from GCU Admissions. You will be notified when it has been released to VISA.

If you are a continuing student you must apply via the online store. There is a £45 administrative charge. Please note it takes around 20 days for your CAS to be issued. Your CAS will be sent directly to VISA where an advisor can provide the CAS Extension team. 

Before you apply for your visa

Check here and select your country to see if you need a UK visa.

If you need to apply for a Student visa, you will need a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies). This is an electronic document with a unique number that you must use in your visa application. It will be emailed to you by GCU Admissions after you have accepted an unconditional offer and paid a deposit on your fees and then completed the CAS data check.

Please note: The above applies to new students only. If you have already been studying with GCU and require a student visa to complete your course, your CAS will be issued by the VISA Team. Please contact the Team directly if this applies to you. 

Application overview

You can apply for a Student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you:

This visa has replaced the Tier 4 (General) student visa.

Once you have checked that you are eligible to apply, you will need to fill out the visa application form (either online or by paper, depending which country you are applying from), pay the application fee and prepare your supporting documents. You will then be given an appointment at your local Visa Application Centre to submit these documents. In some countries, the Visa Application Centre is run by a commercial company (such as VFS Global or TLScontact), but they do not have any influence over the visa process itself; your application will be decided by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). 

As part of the process, you may also be interviewed. The interviewee will be looking to show that your English is up to the required standard (without the need for an interpreter). They may ask you about why you chose to study in the UK and at GCU in particular, and some information about your chosen subject area. You may also be asked about your life and family at home, and your immigration history (particularly if you have been to the UK before). Our useful leaflet preparing for your Credibility Interviews can be downloaded here and you can view our dedicated advice page on Credibility Interviews.

The Student visa guidance can be access online.

Before applying for your visa, please also read the information contained on the Government's Student Visa webpage.

We recommend you read the process outlined here before you apply for your visa, and contact the team if you have any queries.

Credibility Interviews
Financial requirement

Documents need to meet the requirements stated in the UKVI's Student Guidance and the UKVI's Immigration Rules in:

You will need to provide evidence that you meet UKVI's financial requirements covering course fees and living costs.

Money you need

You must have enough money to pay for your course and support yourself in the UK.How much money you need depends on your circumstances and what you’re applying for.Course feeYou need enough money to pay for your course for 1 academic year (up to 9 months). The amount you need to pay will be on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).If you’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months, you do not need to prove you have this money for your visa application.Money to support yourself (‘financial requirement’)You’ll need to show you have enough money to support yourself - unless you’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months on the date of your application.How much money you need depends on where you will be studying. You’ll need either:
  • £1,334 per month (for up to 9 months) for courses in London
  • £1,023 per month (for up to 9 months) for courses outside London
If you’re applying for the Doctorate Extension Scheme, and you’ve been in the UK for less than 12 months, you need to prove you have a total of £2,668 for courses in London, or a total of £2,046 for courses outside London.If you’re boarding at a residential independent school, you’ll need to pay boarding fees instead. The amount you need to pay will be on your CAS.London means the City of London and the 32 London boroughs.You’ll need to prove you have extra money for each family member you bring with you.You must have this money for at least 28 consecutive days. The end date of the 28-day period must be within 31 days of the date you apply for your visa.ExampleIf you submit your application on 1 January 2021, you’d have to show that the funds were in your bank account for at least the 28-day period ending on 1 December.If you have a student loan or financial sponsorship, you’ll need to provide evidence of this from your loan or sponsorship company.Read the guidance on finances for student applications for more information about the money you need and how to prove it.When you do not need to prove you have money to support yourselfYou do not need to prove the financial requirement if:
  • you’ve had a UK visa for 12 months prior to the date of your Student visa application - you must currently be in the UK
  • you’re applying as a student union sabbatical officer
  • you’re applying as a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised foundation programme
If you’re from a country listed under the ‘differential evidence requirement’ You do not need to prove you have enough money to support yourself if you’re a British national overseas or from one of the following countries or territories.

However, you will be required to provide this evidence to the Admissions Team and/or the VISA Team as you might be asked to provide this evidence before you get a decision on your application.If you do need to provide it, you’ll be contacted by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) after you’ve submitted your application.Read the guidance on finances for student applications for more information about the money you need and how to prove it.
Tuberculosis Screening

You may also need to provide tuberculosis test results.

You’ll need to have a tuberculosis (TB) test if you’re coming to the UK for more than 6 months and are resident in any of these listed countries.

Students from a listed country coming to the UK for more than 6 months are required to be tested for TB as part of the Permission to Enter application process. If you are a national of a country that appears on the list, you will need to obtain a valid certificate from an approved clinic and submit it with your application.

You do not need a TB test if you lived for at least 6 months in a country where TB screening is required by the UK but you have been away from that country for more than 6 months in a country which does not require a TB certificate.

If you are referred for a further screening test following the initial x-ray test please be aware that the results can take up to 8 weeks. If this screening test is negative you will be issued your TB certificate.

You should not apply for your visa until you have obtained confirmation and the certificate.

You’ll be given a chest x-ray to test for TB. If the result of the x-ray is not clear you may also be asked to give a sputum sample (phlegm coughed up from your lungs).

If your test shows that you do not have TB, you’ll be given a certificate which is valid for 6 months from the date of your x-ray. Include this certificate with your UK visa application.

Who does not need to be tested

You will not need a TB test if any of the following apply:

  • you’re a diplomat accredited to the UK
  • you’re a returning UK resident and have not been away for more than 2 years
  • you lived for at least 6 months in a country where TB screening is not required by the UK, and you’ve been away from that country for no more than 6 months


All children must see a clinician who’ll decide if they need a chest x-ray. Children under 11 will not normally have a chest x-ray.

You must take your child to an approved clinic and complete a health questionnaire. If the clinician decides your child does not have TB they’ll give you a certificate. Include this certificate with your child’s UK visa application.

Pregnant women

You can choose:

  • an x-ray with an extra shield to protect you and your unborn child in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters
  • a sputum test (phlegm coughed up from your lungs) - there may be an extra fee and you could wait up to 8 weeks for results
  • to wait until after delivery

If you do not want to be tested you can use an x-ray taken within the last 3 months at a UK-approved screening clinic. Ask a clinician at an approved clinic to review your x-ray. If it’s accepted the clinician will give you a certificate to provide with your UK visa application.

Immigration Health Surcharge

You will need to pay a healthcare surcharge (called the ‘Immigration Health Surcharge’) for yourself and any dependents applying for a visa with you. You will then have access to the National Health Service (NHS) whilst studying in the UK. Please note there may still be a charge for some services such as dental treatment and prescription charges.

If you’re making your immigration application online, you pay the surcharge as part of your application or when you book an appointment.

If you’re applying by post, you pay the surcharge online before you send your application. You’ll need to include the IHS reference number on your application form.

The exact amount you have to pay depends on how much leave you are granted. Currently, students are required to pay £470 for every year granted in the United Kingdom and £235 for every 6 months thereafter.

The exact amount you have to pay depends on how much leave you’re granted. Calculate how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

You’ll pay half of the yearly amount if your application includes part of a year that is less than 6 months.

You’ll pay for a whole year if your application includes part of a year that is more than 6 months.

Please note dependents will need to pay the same amount as you.

If you’re making your immigration application online or through a Premium Service Centre, you pay the surcharge as part of your application or when you book an appointment.

Note that the charge refers to length of leave, not length of course, so the additional periods at the start and end of a course are taken into account when calculating the amount is calculated.


IHS Refunds for EU Nationals

You may be eligible for a full or partial refund of the IHS fee if:

  • you’re a full-time student in UK higher education; and
  • your visa started on or after 1 January 2021; and
  • you have an EHIC issued in an EU country; and
  • you do not work in the UK

You will not be able to apply for a refund until January 2022, but your refund will be backdated for what you have paid up to 1 January 2021.

If you intend to apply for a refund of your immigration health surcharge payment, you should use your EU EHIC for medically necessary treatment during your studies.

Once you have received your reimbursement, you may have to pay for any NHS healthcare you receive that is not deemed medically necessary.

If you obtain an immigration health surcharge reimbursement, you should not work in the UK. Working in the UK is very likely to invalidate your EHIC and you will need to be prepared to pay for any NHS healthcare you receive.

You can find further informaitn on the UK Government website.

Visa processing times

It is essential that you apply for your visa in plenty of time before your course start date. This also includes ensuring you have ATAS clearance (if applicable - click here for more details) before you apply. How long your application will take to be processed depends on what country you are applying from, and what time of year you apply (July to September and December to January tend to be busy times). For processing times in your home country please visit UKVI Visa Processing Times.

You cannot travel to the UK until your visa has been granted. If you think you may not be able to arrive in time for your start date, then you must email Admissions and Enquiry Team and mark your email as urgent. In some rare cases you may be able to join your studies late, but this is at the discretion of the academic school. In all other cases you will be given the option to defer to the next intake.

Refused visa applications

If your application is refused, you will be issued with a refusal notice explaining the exact reason(s) for this. You must email the Visa Immigration Support & Advice (VISA) Team: or GCU London: immediately and/or our Admissions and Enquiry Team with the subject "VISA REFUSAL". Please scan each page of your refusal notice and attach it to the email. Also quote your Student ID number. Please be aware of security when sending documents via email. You are advised to password protect any personal documents you send to us. 

If your Student visa application is refused and you disagree with the reason(s), you do not have a full right of appeal, but instead you are given the opportunity for an "Administrative Review". This is where a senior UKVI Officer reviews the decision and can overturn it if they agree with you that the decision was incorrect. VISA may also be able to help if you believe the decision is incorrect, please contact the team immediately if this applies to you. 

In some cases you may be able to make a second application after you have been refused. If you do this, you will need a new CAS; you cannot re-apply with the one for which you have been refused. Please contact the VISA Team for guidance if this applies to you for assistance with any new applicaiton.

Entering the UK with your Student Entry Clearance Visa

Please note current travel restrictions and requirements due to COVID-19. Please reead the information contained within the below links to check which restrictions and requirements apply to you:  (England)  (Scotland) 

If you have obtained your visa in your home country, you must ensure your visa is stamped upon entry to the UK. As part of your continued requirement to adhere to GCU student and visa conditions, your visa must be stamped with your date of entry to activate it.

You must also present your CAS number at the port of entry into the UK along with your documents. Please ensure you have this available when you travel.

If your visa is not stamped on entry, you must present yourself to an immigration official at the airport in the UK and explain that you have not had your visa stamped. It is advisable to keep copies of your flight booking and tickets for your personal record to confirm your date of entry to the UK in addition to the stamp on your passport.

Please note you must not use an eGate at the airport  if you are entering the UK as a student. You must see a Border Force Officer on arrival to stamp and activate your visa.

UK Border Force have expanded the eGates to nationals from seven additional countries at 15 major airports and Eurostar terminals.

The eGate expansion means that eligible nationals from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America can use the automated eGates on arrival into the UK, free of charge. Nationals from these seven countries will also no longer need to complete a landing card on arrival.

If you enter via the European Common Travel Area including the Republic of Ireland then you will not clear UK immigration. We therefore, highly recommend you do not book travel via Dublin as this may cause issues for your entry clearance and ability to study. If you do travel via this route you must retain your flight booking confirmation and boarding passes. These documents must remain with your passport for all future travel as evidence of your confirmed entry and activation of your Student visa.

The University will monitor this during Registration and Attendance Checkpoints.

Please contact Visa Immigration Support & Advice or GCU London for further information.